It Behooved Christ to Suffer

James Smith


The sufferings of Christ, as the substitute of his people, is a very marvelous subject. That he should take the nature of the sinner, put himself in the place of the guilty, and bear their sins in his own body on the tree is truly astonishing. Such a plan of salvation, manifesting such love, never could have entered into any mind but the mind of God. The Scriptures are full of this subject, they not only set it forth but show the necessity there was for it. Let us look at one passage on this point. "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Luke 24:46.

IT BEHOOVED CHRIST TO SUFFER. WHY? Because out of the depth of his infinite love to his people he had offered to do it in the everlasting covenant. His offer had been accepted, and it was arranged, that in the fullness of time he should be made of a woman, and die the just for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God.

The justice of God had decreed it. The penalty of sin must be paid, the desert of sin must be suffered. If this fell on man he would be lost forever. Jesus, to prevent this, offered to endure it the offer was accepted, and divine justice decreed that standing in the sinner's place, he should suffer and die in the sinner's stead.

The word of God declared it. The word reveals, not only the events of time but God's eternal purposes. It testified therefore, "He shall make his soul an offering for sins." "He shall bear their iniquities." "He shall magnify the law, and make it honorable." Jesus therefore in order to make good the word, was delivered for our offences, and died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.

The sacrifices of old times prefigured it. They were the shadow of good things to come. They all pointed to Christ, and but for the sacrifice of Christ, they would be all useless. As the antitype of the sacrifices, as the end of the law for righteousness it behooved Christ to suffer.

Man's sin deserved it. All that Jesus did, was necessary to justify our persons; and all that Jesus suffered, was the desert of our sins. We committed the crime, and he paid the penalty. We accumulated the debt and he came and discharged it. All that sin deserved Jesus endured; and as he had engaged to do so it behooved him to suffer.

Redemption required it. We could be redeemed without money but not without a price, and that price must at least be equal in value to the property redeemed. Such a price no one could furnish but God, nor could it be found any where but in the blood of his dear Son. As therefore we were to be redeemed from sin, Satan, death, and Hell as Jesus came to give his life as the ransom price it behooved Christ to suffer.

The glory of God is advanced by it. Every perfection of his nature, and every principle of his government, is glorified in our salvation through the sufferings of his Son! His glory is great in our salvation, and throughout eternity he will be reaping a revenue of glory from the same. As God could thus be greatly and eternally glorified in our salvation, by the substitution and death of Jesus it behooved Christ to suffer.

IT BEHOOVED CHRIST TO RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD. A dead Christ could be no Savior. He must rise from the dead. The Scriptures foretold it and they must be fulfilled. Justice demanded it for all it could exact, was paid; all it could inflict, was endured. His word and work required it. He had said he would rise again, and his word could not be broken. His work was finished, and finished to perfection; and its perfection required that He should be raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father. He had promised to send the Comforter, and his resurrection was necessary to the fulfillment of this promise. He had to represent his people in Heaven before his Father, to intercede for them with his Father, to prepare their places in his Father's house, and to complete his engagement by sending down all that was necessary to secure their eternal salvation. In order to all this it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.

Christ has suffered all that our sins deserved. If therefore we believe in him, take shelter in him, and look for salvation to him then we shall never suffer for sin. We may be corrected, or instructed by the rod but punishment, in the proper sense of the word, will never be inflicted on us, for Jesus has borne it all. Jesus is liberated from the prison of death. God sent his glorious angels to fetch him out, thereby testifying that the debt was fully paid, that justice was perfectly satisfied; and that the sinner's substitute must now go free!

His resurrection is for the justification of every believer. His freedom, declares us free, who believe on his dear name. He who bore our sins for us will pardon sin in us. To bear the punishment of sin was hard but to pardon sin that has been atoned for is easy. Jesus has power to forgive sins, and he pardons all who apply to him, and as often as we apply to him. As Jesus arose from the dead so must his people. The resurrection of the head secures the resurrection of the body. He arose as the first fruits of those who slept, and as the first fruits are presented to the Lord, the whole harvest is sanctified, and shall be safely gathered in. In the death of Jesus our death to sin was secured; and in the resurrection of Jesus our glorious resurrection is rendered certain.

There is now an everlasting, ever-living Savior, for lost and ruined sinners. Christ being raised from the dead, dies no more, death has no more dominion over him. He ever lives, and lives to save all who come unto God by him. Having put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, he will never put away the sinner, who seeks salvation at his hands. Having conquered Satan for us on the cross he will conquer Satan in us, by his grace.

Beloved, if you are a believer, rejoice that Christ has suffered, and has thereby made an infinite atonement for your sins! Rejoice more, that Jesus arose from the dead, as a conqueror over all your foes; and has gone into Heaven to take care of all your spiritual and eternal interests, and that now He ever lives to make intercession for you.

Sinner, here is a precious Savior, who having died for sin, is now able to save you; not only able, but willing also. If you will be saved by him you must come to him, call upon him, believe in him, commit your soul to him. Only sincerely believe, and your sins are pardoned, and your resurrection to life and glory are sure!